Inspiring girls to hit the BMX track in Abbotsford
From a young age, Langley's Drew Mechielsen has proven that girls can do it too, and now she's trying to encourage other young females to follow in her footsteps.
Mechielsen is helping to bring a free Intro to BMX and Healthy Lifestyle Clinic to Abbotsford on June 19, and 15 local girls will get the chance to hit the track and learn more about maintaining their health.
The track is practically a second home for Mechielsen, as she tagged along with her older brother and first jumped on a bike at the age of three. She has now competed in the sport for 13 years, racing in world cup events, and earning a BMX national championship in her age group two years ago.
"My older brother started doing BMX and I just wanted to copy him," she said. "But I love the adrenaline from it. BMX has matured me. I've had the opportunity to travel the world and make friends from all over."
She secured a grant from viaSport BC to help put on the camp, and said she wants girls to know that BMX is not a boys-only club at all.
"I've been in the sport for so long and I know that being a young girl, it can be nice to have a team and be a part of something," she said. "It's kind of a male-dominated sport but we want to get more girls interested."
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is hosted by Mechielsen's Inspire BMX team and local BMX athlete Romina Alva. The clinic is free to a maximum of 15 girls, and the session will include the chance to ride the track, discussions about being active, and information about healthy eating habits.
All clinic participants also get the chance to win one of five one-year BMX track memberships to the Abbotsford track.
"We want to get people on bikes, focus on the basics and have fun," she said. "The main point is to get girls to be comfortable on bikes and learn about living healthy."
Mechielsen stressed that the sport can take a lot of hard work, but the reward is well worth it.
"I'd tell people just not to be scared of being on a bike," she said. "It can be intimidating but you should just go for it. Everyone at the track is really friendly and people should know you probably won't just hop on a bike and be awesome."
The clinic also runs in Langley on June 25. Register for the Abbotsford clinic at email@example.com.